Sunday, 24 January 2016
Art & DG CONNECT: The European Commission seeks artists to act as handmaidens to technologists
The European Commission, in the form of DG CONNECT, operating at the forefront of 1990s Ideology of Creativity thinking, is seeking artists to work with technologist, to bring creativity into ICT research, development and innovation processes, because DG CONNECT’s new ideology is that technologists and engineers are not creative people, which just shows how much they understand – very little. Terms and conditions most definitely apply. Most importantly, be clear that you will be a handmaiden and you should know what handmaidens are expected to do.
Terry Fenton wrote about artists as handmaidens in a 1969 paper called Two Contributions to the Art and Science Muddle: 1. Constructivism and its Confusions. Why, you might ask, is this issue still relevant in 2016? The answer is provided by John Dewey, who, around 1919, wrote this:
“Surely there is no more significant question before the world than this question of the possibility and method of reconciliation of the attitudes of practical science and contemplative aesthetic appreciation. Without the former, man will be the sport and victim of natural forces which he cannot use or control. Without the latter, mankind might become a race of economic monsters, restlessly driving hard bargains with nature and with one another, bored with leisure or capable of putting it to ostentatious display and extravagant dissipation.”
Humanity has now become that monster, and scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians have become its handmaidens. Now DG CONNECT has decided that artists must become handmaidens to the monster and help those other handmaidens in their quest to turn our planet into unconventional and compelling products, of which there are already far too many.
You will have noticed that in December 2015, the world’s politicians meeting in
decided that they are not going to do anything about this thing called Global
Warming. Instead, they have shifted responsibility for dealing with this
problem to our grandchildren, later this century. Cleverly they have reached
agreement to do nothing, while being able to claim that they are doing
something. So it is business as usual. And DG CONNECT are also contributing to
this business as usual approach, and are appropriating art for political
reasons, one of which has to do with its image and that of the European
In the report produced by the
concerning their Art and Technology Programme (late 60s & early 70s), they
reflected on the reasons why industries participated. One of the identified reasons
was companies trying to modernise their image. This is what DG CONNECT and the
European Commission are doing – image making, because they have a very
tarnished image and a poor track record, especially in DG CONNECT. They also do
not understand very much about how to use art in research and worse, do not
want to understand. Los Angels County Art Museum
There is no such thing a view from nowhere.
Art is the way to destroy this monster (and DG CONNECT) and to begin to construct a different sort of culture – one that does not make a virtue of living life like a plague of locusts. So be aware when you join in with the STARTS circus, that you are becoming a handmaiden of the monster. And if you do join in, please become subversive, and make of DG CONNECT the fools that they are, for it is highly unlikely that they will recognise that, making them look like fools, is what you are doing. This is the power of art – artists can have very sharp teeth and can bite without those who have been bitten ever realising this.
To be continued, because what is now taking shape will be a book about STARTS …